Whether it is a heroin-addicted piano player on a state department tour in Moscow, or a singer in Depression-era Kansas City, or a young Iraqi clarinet player who finds consolation and inspiration in the saxophone solos of John Coltrane, my main characters tend to be musicians

In an interview last year, the American guitarist and musicologist Ry Cooder was asked how he knew when a piece of music he was listening to was good.(...)

Mark Guiliana: ‘Listening to Coltrane play a melody on the saxophone makes me want to go practise drums’

In the search for the future of drumming, the end of a leafy, pot-holed lane in the midlands is not exactly the first place you would look. But on (...)

The personnel on Search for Peace will be sufficient inducement for most interested parties: saxophonist Gary Bartz, pianist Larry Willis, bas(...)

Meet the musician behind the album of 2015 to date. His name is Kamasi Washington and the album is called The Epic. It’s epic by name and by nature(...)

Kamasi Washington’s new album certainly lives up to the billing. A 32-piece orchestra, 20-strong choir and 10-band members producing a 172-min(...)

What were your cultural highlights of 2014? I very much enjoyed Mark O’Rowe’s Our Few and Evil Days at the Abbey Theatre, not least because it(...)

Top row: Rory Gallagher, Public Enemy and David Bowie; bottom row: John Coltrane, The Rolling Stones and Aretha Franklin. Photographs: Fin Costello/Redferns, Suzie Gibbons/Redferns, Richard E Aaron/Redferns, Gai Terrell/Redferns and Estate of Keith Morris/Redferns, all via Getty Images

Every minute of the day more than 100 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube. It’s an inventory that will include a huge swathe of this, that and th(...)

Nun of the above: Agata Kulesza in Ida

It’s Poland in the early 1960s. Ida (Agata Trzebuchowska), a young orphan raised by Catholic nuns, leaves the convent so that she might meet her es(...)

Live at the Village Vanguard is surely the most pungent of album titles, promising top-tier New York musicians and an environment that brings out t(...)

Wayne Shorter: ‘If there’s a lot of praise, where are the record sales?’ Photograph: Keith Tsuji/Getty

For Wayne Shorter, the past is not just another country, it’s a distant galaxy. Only now matters. It’s what you would expect from an iconic jazz music(...)